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What are the Best Ways to Stop Bullying?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
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Whether on the grammar school playground or in the highest corporate office, bullying is a strategy to gain control or power at the expense of others. Name-calling, threats, physical attacks and property damage, or using peer pressure can all be forms of bullying. It is often up to the victim and those around them to stop bullying. In the schoolyard, parents, teachers and other children can help stop bullying, while adults must rely on friends, co-workers, and bosses to end destructive bullying trends.

Some people find it difficult to distinguish bullying from teasing or joking. Often, a bully can dish out criticism and personal attacks, but can't take it. Teasing and joking occurs among equals and is equally given and accepted; a bully, since he or she is trying to exert control, will usually not be able to take the same level of treatment in return.

In order to stop bullying, a victim must first make his feelings known. For many, children and adult, this is a difficult task. In social settings, people want to be seen as cool and tough, and do not want to appear whiny or babyish. Telling a bully that his or her actions are hurtful and not fun may be difficult, but it is a good way to determine a real bully from a joker who takes things to far. Someone who is not a bully will likely sincerely apologize and stop his or her behavior when confronted with an honest, straight-forward complaint.

If, on the other hand, a person responds to the complaint with jeers, insults, or increased bullying, a victim can now rest assured that he is dealing with a real bully and should feel more comfortable seeking help to stop bullying behavior. If a person has confronted his or her bully to no avail, speaking to authority figures is no longer tattling, but reporting inappropriate behavior. If a teacher or boss will not respond to complaints, go to an even higher level authority. Schools and businesses almost always have a code of conduct to which they are legally responsible; if no action is taken after repeated attempts are made to inform authorities, a victim has a perfect right to take legal action.

It is easy to think of bullies as evil people, but in fact they are often deeply insecure. To stop bullying behavior, it is important for the bully's friends and families to get to the root of the problem. Many bullies are victims of bullying themselves, from parents and older siblings. In order to truly stop bullying, the need to exert power and control through cruelty must be addressed and discussed with the bully. Parents, teachers, and school counselors have a responsibility not only to stop the behavior but to help the bully find more constructive ways of behaving.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGEEK. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

Discussion Comments

By anon924463 — On Jan 04, 2014

@anon924449: You have a point. I was bullied too, and I know of other cases where all the "intervention" in the world didn't help. Public humiliation could be helpful, but this is a problem the parents probably helped create, at least in part, and it's their responsibility to stop it.

However, as my dad, who was a teacher, could tell you, until you *inconvenience* the parents, it won't stop. Get into their personal time or their pocketbooks and things will change. My city's school system implemented a "no fight" policy where *any* students over sixth grade (12 and up, roughly) caught fighting were taken to the police station in handcuffs and their parent/legal guardian had to come and get them. Fights dropped to nearly zero. Imagine that! As soon as mama and daddy had to go get junior at the police station, and take off work to do it, the situation changed. They couldn't be leaving work every day to haul junior out of the pokey, so they insisted the behavior improve. And it did. Bullying stopped, too, or was greatly diminished, since a lot of victimized kids felt it well worth handcuffs to get a bully taken care of.

Alternatively, my parents told me they didn't want me fighting at any time, but if I was forced to do it, to make sure I hurt the bully as badly as I could, up to and including a trip to the ER. I took them at their word, and after one or two confrontations, the bullying *stopped.* I seriously intended to inflict as much harm as I could, and that tends to discourage bullies.

I also strongly encourage any child who is being bullied to take martial arts classes, if at all possible. This will instill confidence, which helps prevent bullying in the first place, and also gives the child mental and physical tools to protect himself. Sometimes, just knowing that "Johnny takes karate" is enough to take care of the situation. Many martial arts schools also offer anti-bullying programs for students and non-students. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

By anon924449 — On Jan 04, 2014

I was bullied by a couple of kids for different reasons in grade school and nothing I did stopped them. I ignored, them, then I tried asking them to stop and explaining how it hurt me. Nothing helped. What I wish is that the bullies had been called out publicly by school authorities. Yes, let the bullies feel the embarrassment, humiliation and pain that I felt.

Also, their parents should have been called into the school for a meeting with me and my parents along with the principal. Again, humiliate the bully publicly and make them feel what I felt.

I'm sorry if that sounds too vengeful for some people but I can speak from experience and say that bullies won't stop simply by ignoring them or by being talked to privately. That's reality; coddling bullies and simply trying to reason with them does not work nor does it provide any relief for the child being tortured.

By sneakers41 — On Jan 11, 2011

Latte31-I saw that movie with my daughter and she loves how the movie ends. It is important that children do not become desensitized to bullying.

We hear so many cases of cyberbullying and children and teenagers need to understand how wrong this is and stop cyberbullying.

It is important to educate our children on what is cyberbullying and always have supervised computer time. It is always a good idea to have the computer in a family room area. While this may not allow the privacy that a teen wants it is important that we protect our children.

We also need to have strong relationships with our children and ask them daily about how their school day. Open dialogue helps a child learn from the parent and hopefully avoid these types of people and situations.

By latte31 — On Jan 10, 2011

Suntan12-I agree with you. I think that there are many movies that children can watch that really illustrate the impact of bullying.

In order to stop bullying now schools should show screenings of the movie, Chrissa Learns a Lesson. It is part of the American Girl movie series that involves a young girl named Chrissa who moved to a new town and subsequently started a new school.

The movie shows the struggles that Chrissa has fitting and it actively shows how she was repeatedly bullied. The great thing about this movie is that this character actually becomes empowered and faces her bully and actually starts to realize that her bully is really jealous of her.

Movies like this make it easy for parents to discuss bullying behavior and the movie does a great job in teaching young girls how to handle the situation in a constructive manner.

By suntan12 — On Jan 08, 2011

It is really important to stop school bullying immediately when it starts. It is important for children that are being bullied to know that the actions of the aggressive child is really a form of cowardice because they choose to hurt someone that is weaker than they were.

Children need to understand that the aggressive child has deep seated insecurities that cause him or her to lash out in this bullying manner.

When children understand that the bullying is not about them but actually about the insecurities of the other child it helps to repair the bullied child’s self esteem.

Next, it is important for teachers stop the bullying and address it immediately before it escalates. There should also be a stop school bullying campaign just like there is for the antidrug message.

Both areas are equally important for children to understand and early education allows children to realize how wrong this behavior is and stop bullying now.

Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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